Last week, I talked about the E65 Alpina B7. For fans of the preceding E38 model, performance options in the United States were fairly limited.
One notable bright spot was the 740i Sport, affectionately referred to as the, “sporty shorty,” or some variation of such, by enthusiasts. Instead of the monster V12 available at the time, the 740i utilized the same M62TU V8 as the E39 540i, good for 290 horsepower. If you haven’t figured it out by the nickname, it also used the short wheelbase E38 chassis as opposed to the longer iL.
And then there is the sport package, which brought with it a host of minor tweaks to give the car a more engaging personality than a standard 740i. The suspension was more taut, and the car rode on staggered Style 37 M Parallel wheels like the ones fitted to the contemporary E39 540i. Shadowline trim replaced most of the chrome, and the rear axle had a slightly more aggressive gear set fitted. Inside, occupants are treated to leather-trimmed sport seats.
While it’s no Alpina B7, it’s typically regarded as the best E38 by American BMW enthusiasts. However, for at least two people (the buyer and the seller), 290 horsepower was simply not enough, as evidenced by this recent Bring a Trailer auction.
Not content with what has always been respectable factory spec, someone fitted the brilliant S62 V8 of an E39 M5 to a 740i Sport, and subsequently supercharged it. Even better, the automatic transmission was swapped for a six-speed manual. The end result, using mostly BMW factory parts, is likely as close as anyone has ever come to an E38 M7.
The $58,000 hammer price proves, once again, that BMW enthusiasts are willing to pay a premium for tasteful modifications. Combining factory parts to make “phantom unicorns” is a time-honored tradition in the BMW world, a carryover from the days when Europe got all the good stuff and we got the leftovers. This isn’t the first M-powered E38 Seven out there either.
What BMW components would you combine to make the BMW of your dreams? I’m doing just that in my garage with my V8 wagon five-speed swap, but I would’t mind hearing what you’ve got on your mind.—Cam VanDerHorst
[Photos via Bring a Trailer Media LLC.]